It’s that time of the year again when “Indepedence Day” becomes a “trending” topic. Yet, year in and year out we continue to wonder whether or not Filipinos really understand what it means to be truly independent. This is because the facts surrounding this debate are quite confronting. The Philippines lacks any real means to walk its talk of “independence”.
For one thing, the Philippines is unable to defend itself. Generations of lazy, tunnel-visioned governments and a constant din of limp-wristed “activism” had reduced the Philippine military into a merely ceremonial national ornament. As a result, the Philippines continues to rely on foreign “friends” and “international tribunals” to assert its territorial claims. Unfortunately the world does not work to suit this snowflake outlook. People with the guns and money get to set the agenda and determine how things work. The Philippines, for now, has neither.
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Second, the Philippines is not good at making stuff the people of the world want and are willing to pay good money for. This is evident in how the country is flooded with imported stuff, how its consumers salivate over all things foreign, and how its industry relies on foreign capital to get things done. Without an indigenous wealth creation capability and a modern industrial — and, specifically, manufacturing — foundation to put its economy on a solid footing, the Philippines will remain hopelessly dependent on foreign stuff to prop up any semblance of modernity.
Third, Philippine political discourse continues to remain predominantly colonial-minded. Its “thought leaders” engage in endless petty debates on who dominates who, and to what world power their country needs to suck up to. Its politicians defer to “international courts” when seeking “justice” and key members of its media reserve their highest reverence for the content produced by liberal Western counterparts. Indeed, no less than the “vice president” of the Philippines invites foreign agencies to meddle in her own country’s internal affairs. Until Filipinos and their politicians grow up and apply an adult attitude to the way the Philippines conducts itself among its global peers, the idea that it is an “independent” state may need to be taken with a grain of salt.
From the top down, Philippine society continues to exhibit signs that it still clings to the laylayan of former colonial masters to validate its existence. The highest aspirations of its citizens is to land a job overseas to feed their families and “hope” is hinged not on a strategy to achieve self-sufficiency but on a constant pitch to keep a river of foreign funds in the form of “investments”, loans, and aid flowing in to keep national cash flow balanced.
There can be no national “pride” if there is no real national independence. This should be the key message Filipinos need to comprehend in this year’s “Independence” Day.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.